|Scorecard:||Pakistan Under-19s v South Africa Under-19s|
|Event:||ICC Under-19 World Cup 2007/08|
DateLine: 1st March 2008
South Africa is through to Sunday’s final of the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup having defeated defending champion Pakistan by 98 runs at Kinrara Oval, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Two years ago, South Africa’s under-19 team went to Sri Lanka full of hope and returned disappointed having first been dumped out of the group stage and then beaten in the Plate Championship by Nepal. And more recently the junior Proteas have not impressed, coming last in a tri-series with India and Bangladesh late last year.
What a transformation this team has undergone. Under the watchful eye of coach Ray Jennings, the junior Proteas are now a well-drilled and disciplined group of players who do the basics extremely well. They bowl one side of the wicket, they bat straight with good shot selection, they run between the wickets like hares and they field like a team of Jonty Rhodeses.
And on Saturday that proved too much for a Pakistan team looking for a hat-trick of victories in the U/19 CWC. Resuming on 86-2 needing 166 to win off 28.1 overs, Pakistan got off to the worst possible start, losing Umar Amin, neatly stumped by Bradley Barnes off the bowling of Pieter Malan in what was the first ball of the day.
The day in Kuala Lumpur had begun with lashing rain – debunking the myth that it only comes down in the evening here – and the most of the morning was spent watching it bounce off the covers. In fact, until yesterday the rain had had little impact on this tournament at what is one of the drier times of the year in Malaysia.
Thankfully, at around 1145 it stopped and such is the quality of the drainage system and hard-working groundstaff in place at Kinrara Oval, play was possible about half an hour after the covers came off. It meant that no more overs were lost to the Pakistan batsmen and they retook the field still seeking the same overnight target of 252 to win from a total of 47 overs.
But the fielding side immediately hit its straps and danger man Ali Asad soon went the way of Amin, trapped lbw off the bowling of Roy Adams for five.
From there, Pakistan never really looked like winning and the way South Africa strutted around in the field, it was clear the momentum had shifted. This was reinforced when talented opener Ahmad Shahzad was out, caught at point off Adams for 60. In the end Pakistan fell 98 runs short of victory.
Before the rain came on Friday, South Africa had batted superbly to post a total of 260-8 off 50 overs thanks to half-centuries from Rilee Rossouw, Jonathan Vandiar and man of the match JJ Smuts.
In reply, Pakistan managed to get to 86-2 off 18.5 overs before the rain set in and the game was very delicately poised at that stage. But when the teams retook the field on Saturday it was South Africa that dominated and it will now look forward to taking on India in Sunday’s final.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2008 International Cricket Council)
View all Current Events CLICK HERE